Paula Bomer

I've kept a journal my entire life. It reads like a chronicle of sins against me and those I've committed against others. Occasionally I indulge in the very depressing activity of reading back on the past nineteen years of marriage, reading back on those years of crying babies, sleepless nights. How I passionately hated my husband! How little he respected me! If only I had the money to leave him. And my sons, how they've exhausted me physically, taxed me emotionally. I lost my patience often and chronicled every infraction, every harsh word, every time I squeezed an arm until a tiny, innocent boy wailed, "ouch!" The mopping, the scrubbing of filthy toilets, lugging bags of groceries up stairs that seemed so heavy my eyes would tear with injustice. I was maid, nanny, occasionally whore. And yet, where in my journal is the exquisite joy? The love, the laughter, the human flesh against me, sweet and warm? Those must be the secrets I take with me, the beauty, the comfort, to my grave, leaving, sadly, only the darkness for the world to gape in horror. The bad mother.